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Morrison has offer on sewer plant property

Prospective buyer trying to negotiate lease agreement for USDA office

MORRISON – The city is discussing an offer from an Iowa real estate group on land near its new wastewater treatment plant.

The property, about 2 acres at 400 Wilkens Drive, was part of the land acquired by the city for its sewer project. It is next to Morrison Tech and the industrial park.

The $35,000 offer was made by Greenwood Properties LLP, based in Peosta, Iowa. A purchase contract has been drawn up, but the buyer would have 6 months to opt out. Greenwood is trying to negotiate an agreement with the federal government to bring a U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center to the site.

The Whiteside County USDA office, which would be leased from Greenwood, would be moved from its current site at 16255 Liberty Street, which is just outside Morrison’s city limits.

“This is just in the discussion stage, and it’s possible nothing will happen, but it factors into our budgeting for next year,” Mayor Everett Pannier said.

The city started aggressively marketing the property when the new sewer plant was completed. A similar offer from a different prospective buyer came in about a year and a half ago, but negotiations failed to yield a deal.

In addition to the outcome of the lease negotiations, the offer comes with other contingencies. A first-phase environmental study must be done, and the city must sign off on two entrance driveways and utility and drainage easements.

Plans call for putting up a 5,000-square-foot building. The land is already zoned for office and light industrial use and ready for construction.

“We decided to do the zoning before we put it up for sale,” Pannier said. “It has a retaining pond and is near all utilities including a fiber network.”

The sale agreement also would allow Greenwood to extend the opt-out period an additional 6 months.

Special-use request

The City Council on Monday referred a special-use permit application to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The permit is needed to operate an auto service business at 301 W. Lincolnway. The property, owned by Pete Harkness, is in the central business district and zoned for retail use.

A gas station had been at the site many years ago, but it most recently housed a Payday Auto Credit business.

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